They passed through the least crowded entrance to avoid much traffic, but what met them were crowd, watching them. Xing Shen Yue closed the curtain and gathered her belongings when a hand laid on top of hers. It was, of course, Yun Wei, the only person other than her inside the carriage.
"Yue Yue, why don't you stay in the palace for a while?"
She opened her mouth to refuse, but Yun Wei covered it, and answered for her with a high-pitched voice, "Yes, I will, brother Wei!" She could only sigh and smile, letting him lead her. She doesn't desire to entangle herself with mortal matters, but if for this young man, then she cannot refuse.
It wasn't long before they arrived at the palace, because they were guarded by the Royal guards who came and welcome them. The whole harem, including the Emperor, welcomed them with smiles, and she was introduced as his junior sister. Their rooms were prepared, and they went to rest. Wei's mother, concubine Li led Xing Shen Yue to her room, speaking to her along the way.
It began with typical small talk, asking about her son, then finally to her real motive when they finally reached her room. The concubine kneeled in front of Shen Yue and bowed, "Please, I beg you as his sister to help him inside the palace. The Emperor's been favouring his older brother, and… you know how palace battles end. One must die, and one must win. When the crown prince returns, he will…" Tears began rolling her eyes and then falling unto the wood floor.
Shen Yue was taken aback but smiled softly. She helped Concubine Li up, then tidied her clothes, taking out the creases and dust. "Do not worry, concubine Li. Wei was meant to be the Emperor from the very beginning." Killing intent oozed from her very being, causing the concubine to shiver, but Li still smiled. Knowing that the killing aura wasn't directed at her.
"Thank you, Daoist master, Xing Shen Yue. I'm forever grateful."
Just as Shen Yue thought it was the end, another person called her, and it was someone more powerful. The red robes embroidered with the fiery phoenix's image was eye-catching the moment she entered the phoenix palace.
An intense pressure quickly overwhelmed Shen Yue, causing her to kneel. More than four Jindan guards were inside the room, releasing their auras all out.
"Forgive me, your majesty. I'll never do it again." She pleaded with her head down. In these cases, admitting one's wrong should be first. "I've done wrong, please punish me."
Silence. A frightening atmosphere crept up, but thankfully, the empress spoke after a few minutes of intimidation. "What did she tell you?"
"To help the second prince survive, your majesty. Help him in the fight for the throne because the Emperor favours the crown prince." She answered truthfully. If her guess was right, somebody already reported the contents of her and concubine Li's discussion.
"And what's your decision?"
"Your majesty, I'm a cultivator at heart. Cultivators must severe themselves from mortal matters; hence I will do, too. As long as my senior brother is alive and not badly hurt, I won't meddle."
Satisfied with her answer, her majesty allowed her out, with one last threat. "Remember, you're in my territory. Now go."
Her luck was indeed low that week. Yun Wei came knocking on her door at night and whispered, "We're going, Yue." It was deep into the darkness, and the stars were waiving as they walked to the outskirts of the city. An abandoned mansion emitting creepy chills appeared before their eyes. But at least, one lamp was lit, to lessen their nervousness.
No matter what, Shen Yue didn't complain because she knew why. The creepier the place is, the less suspicion they will get the next morning. She entered into the dark place while the prince remained outside to guard the door. A sudden scream immediately came out of the mansion, waking every sleeping being within a mile away to awake.
Yun Wei flinched despite the countless times he'd heard her scream. Or maybe, it was because this night scream's notably louder compared to before. She was screaming in pain like she's repeatedly tortured by something. But Wei knew that what's abusing her is herself. Maybe he shouldn't have allowed her to follow out of the mountain, in that way, she could still be helped by the master.
During these four days, another troublesome person returned back to the Yun Royal Palace as per his promise. His former youthful face changed into an adult's with defined features. A definite temperament change was also discerned by his parents. Another banquet was prepared, but it was more significant than the second prince'. His arrival gave an unplanned excuse for Yun Wei and Xing Shen Yue's disappearance. 'They must not want to stay in the same place as the crown prince.'
When the two returned from the spooky mountain, what greets them were officials all over the palace. Yun Wei asked one of the eunuchs, "What's happening?"
"Your highness, his highness, the crown prince, returned two days ago." That was all he said before moving forward to deliver one of the food ingredients they needed for the kitchen. The sudden change in the palace's usual mood was evident in one's eye.
They returned to their own rooms, but when it was close to lunch, the Emperor's summons arrived.